12 August 2006

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Black Cat

Another week closer to the premier of Spider-Man 3 brings us another Spider-Man villain profile.

Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat has been both Spidey's lover and enemy, and no matter how tempting it may be, don't ever call her Catwoman.

From the wikipedia:

The Black Cat's father was a world renowned cat burglar. During her freshman year in college, Felicia was date raped by her boyfriend Ryan. Hating the idea of being a victim, she decided that despite the consequences she would murder her rapist. She put aside her studies and began training in various fighting styles and acrobatics. Finally, after months of preparing, she set out for revenge, but before she could find him, Ryan was killed in a drunk driving accident. Furious that she was denied the chance to steal the life of the man who had stolen hers, and feeling reckless, Hardy decided to utilize her new skills to follow in the footsteps of her father.

After amassing a fortune in stolen items, Felicia chose to adopt a costume identity. She first donned the Black Cat costume in order to break her father out of prison. On the same night, she met Spider-Man. Despite her antipathy towards men, Felicia felt a kinship with this lone hero. Spider-Man was the first man she felt she could trust and she grew to love him. Felicia looked for a way to earn his trust and continued with the Black Cat persona as a misguided attempt to attract his affection. Seeing the good in Felicia, Spider-Man made every attempt to have her criminal record expunged.

After a clash with Doc Ock leaving her wounded, Spider-Man barely got her to the hospital in time and as they operated on the dozens of bullet and knife wounds, Peter realized just how much he cared for Felicia. After she recovered they began a relationship and soon Peter revealed his identity to her. But Felicia had great difficulty accepting the fact that Peter was just a man beneath the mask and couldn't understand his need for a civilian life. Peter was hurt, but continued the relationship since it was the first time he didn't need to hide his life as Spider-Man.

At one point, the Kingpin gave her a 'bad luck' power that began to permanently jinx Spider-Man, which was exactly the Kingpin's intent. Feeling a wall of secrets growing between them, Spider-Man broke up with Felicia. He soon realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange to remove the "hex" on him. But doing so altered the hex's source and changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She soon found a heightened strength, agility, balance, vision, and retractable claws.

Years later, the Black Cat returned to America to seek out Peter Parker and was devastated when informed by Venom that Peter had married Mary Jane Watson. Angry and jealous, Felicia began harassing the couple, physically threatening Mary Jane and taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson. She began to sincerely care for Thompson but he eventually broke up with her when he found out her secret. The Black Cat eventually moved past her feelings of anger and jealousy, and became friends with both Spider-Man and Mary Jane. After Spider-Man used a device to remove his superhuman abilities, the Black Cat aided him in finding the device again in order to restore them. But in the process, the Black Cat's cat-like abilities were completely erased. She subsequently purchased equipment from the Tinkerer to incorporate into her costume in order to compensate for her lost abilities, and occasionally teams up with Spider-Man.

Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat

Spider-Man 3 debuts in 265 days!

11 August 2006

UPDATE: Superheroes on Screen - Strange is Coming as are More Avengers

UPDATE: In an interview on Chud.com Zak Penn teased that in his upcoming treatment of The Incredible Hulk, “By the way, I'm hoping you'll see some other Marvel characters in the Hulk.”

Who could he mean? Nick Fury? Iron-Man? Hopefully they don't blow continuity for a "fun cameo" like they did with Beast and Jubilee in X2.


Following up the releases of Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2 as direct to video animated releases, Marvel will produce Iron Man and Dr. Strange animated features. While both look good, I am impressed by the images I have seen of the Strange project due out early next year.

I am also happy to report that the fifth Direct-to-DVD title is likely to be Teen Avengers. That's all I know about that so, if you have more info, please comment.

In other news, Marvel gave an update of its movie plans. Most is not really new information, but they did confirm The Incredible Hulk for 2008. Also, The Avengers live action is also being written by Zak Penn of X2, X3, and Incredible Hulk fame. Here is a look at the pipeline:

Feature Film Line-Up For 2007
Ghost Rider, Sony - February 16, 2007
Spider-Man 3, Sony - May 4, 2007
Fantastic Four 2, Fox - June 15, 2007

Film Projects Being Developed by Marvel
Iron Man, Marvel - Writer and director engaged, slated for May 2, 2008
The Incredible Hulk, Marvel - Writer and director engaged, slated for 2008

Ant-Man, Marvel - Writer and director engaged
Captain America, Marvel - Writer engaged
Nick Fury, Marvel - Writer engaged
Thor, Marvel - Writer engaged

The Avengers, Black Panther, Cloak & Dagger, Doctor Strange, Hawkeye,
Power Pack and Shang-Chi are also projects to be developed by Marvel.

Non Marvel Film Development
Wolverine, Fox - TBD (likely 2008)
The Punisher 2, Lionsgate - TBD
Magneto, Fox - TBD
Namor, Universal - TBD
Luke Cage, Sony - TBD

08 August 2006

Ink Blots XXIV - Ultimate Avengers 2

As I mentioned last week in my review of Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, I have never been terribly familiar with the Avengers outside of the most well knows like Captain America and the Hulk. Going into this second film, I did not know very much about one of the new spotlighted heroes, the Black Panther. This film nicely follows up part 1, and establishes the aliens as being a real threat (as their showing in part 1 was a tad weak).

The film opens with an action packed sequence of those bastardly aliens from part 1 attacking the African city of Wakanda, home of the Panther. Not only are the aliens back, but so is their Nazi/alien commander that we thought the Cap had taken care of in part 1. A fight between the Panther and aliens ensues resulting in a bloody death for the Black Panther leading to his son donning the Panther mantle. This sequence was not quite as great as the fantastically retro opening of part 1, but it was still impressive. Not only can the panther shoot talons, but if he gets mad enough, his head literally transforms into a panther's. Nice!

Reintroductions follow. Captain America as a man out of time has a deathwish, the Hulk is incarcerated and sedated, Giant Man is trying to push his growth abilities beyond safety levels, and Iron Man's heart is having trouble. In spite of all this, the Avengers are reassembled to assist Wakanda even though outsiders are forbidden and help is unwanted. Meanwhile, Thor must disobey his father Odin by continuing his involvement with earthly matters.

Once again, the assembled team receives quite a thrashing, and a worldwide invasion follows and many human get in the line of fire. The aliens are focusing efforts on Wakanda (turns out the city is sitting on a stockpile of vibranium, the alien power source). The Avengers lick their wounds, Iron Man dons the War Machine armor, and the Black Panther finally teams up with the Avengers. Will it be enough? Will they all survive? See for yourself.

Ultimate Avengers part 2 does a better job balancing character stories with the once again limited time of 73 minutes. I think everyone got some decent scenes. This part gives a bit more focus to Iron man, and a bit less to Black Widow and the Hulk, but everyone else is given about the same screen time as they were last time around (Thor still seems to get much less time than I would expect). Part 2 also probably is more deserving of its PG-13 rating as it seems to have a bit more graphic violence and the stakes seem higher and more threatening. Then again, the action though plentiful, is less engrossing this time around. As a stand alone story, this film is a bit weak, but it certainly makes the first movie better when the 2 are seen back-to-back. I cannot really see someone having vastly different opinions of the two films. If you liked part 1, check this one out. If not, don't bother. And if you haven't seen part 1, see it first, otherwise you are basically only seeing the end of a longer film. As part of a 2 story tale (not as a stand alone), I once again give the Avengers a B. So, when do we get Ultimate Avengers 3?

06 August 2006

B.O. Derby

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby opened big with nearly $50 million. I guess Will Ferrell is back. The Devil Wears Prada is sneaking up on the 9th place spot, but Bobby will likely dump it right off the list anyways. So as the summer comes to a close, you can see that for the most part, I was way off, with a couple of close picks. But at least I nailed Pirates as the Summer's big hit even if it was a lot bigger than I expected. So Superman is still working toward 200 mil, but he still has a tough battle ahead.

Current Rankings:

9) The Break-Up - $117,788,940
8) Mission: Impossible III - $133,382,309
7) Click - $134,369,000
6) Over the Hedge - $152,995,450
5) Superman Returns - $190,223,000
4) The Da Vinci Code - $216,385,837
3) X-Men: The Last Stand - $233,524,650
2) Cars - $237,498,000
1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - $379,709,000

Superman Returns still needs $9,777,000 to reach $200 Million

My Top 9 Predictions

9) Lady in the Water - $160,000,000
8) Poseidon - $175,00,0000
7) Mission: Impossible III - $205,000,000
6) Over the Hedge - $220,000,000
5) X-Men: The Last Stand - $225,000,000
4) Cars - $260,000,000
3) The Da Vinci Code - $275,000,000
2) Superman Returns - $325,000,000
1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - $350,000,000